Contextual Analysis Of Calvin Klein's Advertisements

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Calvin Klein is a brand known for their sexually provocative jean and undergarment advertisements (Haig, 2011). “The first ad to violate the taboo against depicting buttocks and penises in mainstream ads was Calvin Klein’s 1983 ad for underwear, in which the model’s penis outline was visible.” (Lambiase & Reichert, 2002, p. 224). While Klein’s ad for Euphoria perfume is not as sexually explicit, visually as their 1983 underwear ad, it does have a sexual undertone. The advertisement, featured in Elle Canada’s October 2015 issue, sells the idea of a fantasy love affair by persuading both men and women to “free the fantasy.” (Calvin Klein, 2015, p. 85). In the context of this paper, infidelity is defined as “participation in sexual intercourse …show more content…
The models take up the majority of the space on the page which is symbolic of what Klein is actually trying to sell: a sexual act, not fragrance products. In order to further elicit a feeling of indirect sexual experience from the reader, Klein modelled the perfume bottles after the shape of the male and female featured in this advertisement. The women’s perfume bottle is curvy with a tall thin cap; the men’s cologne bottle is thick, sturdy and built. Readers who imagine themselves as the models and who live the fantasy affair experience vicariously through them are likely to desire these classically attractive body types. Not only were the models carefully positioned and bottles deliberately designed, Klein used text to further convey his message. The perfume is named ‘Euphoria’, which is synonymous with words such as ‘heaven’ and ‘bliss’. Klein is implying that this perfume offers a heavenly, blissful, euphoric experience. These terms could also be used to describe a sexual encounter. Klein also tells the audience to “free the fantasy” (Calvin Klein, 2015, p. 85). This suggests that both male and female readers should allow themselves to partake in affair fantasies. Klein further encourages this behavior by including a hashtag for readers to use on social media

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